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The March to the Marne: The French Army 1871-1914 Paperback – December 4, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0521545921 ISBN-10: 0521545927

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (December 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521545927
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521545921
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,845,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Book Description

Dr Porch's book challenges many standard assumptions about the place of the army in French political life between 1871 and 1914. He examines the impact of the Dreyfus affair on the crucial tactical and armaments debates of the immediate pre-war years, leading to the army's near disastrous failure in the Great War.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By UMARRAJ on August 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
Dr. Porch's (now Professor at Naval Postgraduate School, CA) revisionist and important book examining the history of the French Army under the Third Republic (1871-1914) was originally published in 1981 and has been finally released in paperback. The book primarily sets out to trace the etiology of the disastrous performance of the French Army in 1914 (2.5 million casualties in opening 15 months of war). It also offers a refreshing and provocative new history of the French army from 1871 to 1914 without examining it through the lenses of 1920s and 1930s.

The received explanation for the calamity of 1914 and the `orthodox' viewpoint of the place of the army in the political evolution of France after the founding of the third republic that this book challenges is that of the historians Joseph Monteilhet (1926) and David Ralston (1967).

To briefly recapitulate, according to Monteilhet, taking his inspiration from the socialist politician Jean Jaures' L' Armee nouvelle, the performance of the French army in 1914 was the result of a struggle over military organization between conservatives and republicans, which dated from the French Revolution. The history of the French army since 1871, in this viewpoint is seen as a struggle between the professional army and the `nations-in-arms'. Basically, the Army of the third republic consisted mainly of reactionary officer corps that was passively hostile to the Republic and actively resistant to democratic reforms. This not only led to the Dreyfus affair but also ultimately led to the near disaster of 1914 and holocausts of the First World War. Accordingly, France would only have been secure if the influence of the high command was reduced to a strict minimum and the French Army had become a short service militia, a sort of Nation-in-Arms.
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